Eating habits and lifestyle changes to reduce risk of COVID-19

Clinical Nutritionist , Jerusha Selah

By Jerusha Selah 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading with alarming speed, infecting millions, killing thousands and bringing World’s economic activities to a near-standstill.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom said the pandemic has exposed the state of health unpreparedness.

The disease will be with us for some time before a vaccine or cure is found and we must put up some measures to help ease the strain on overwhelmed healthcare systems.

We have to practice healthy patterns of eating since it has a positive impact as it may be a way to support people at higher risk for the disease i.e. older people and people with pre-existing conditions (non-communicable diseases). This includes; Older people (65+ years), Diabetes (Type 1 and 2), Lung pneumonia, Pre-diabetes, Lung disease, Cardiovascular disease, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),Hypertension,Bronchitis,Emphysema, Lung cancer and Asthma.

Despite all these, it is still very possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle during this Covid-19 time

and here are a few healthy-living strategies that can help you:

1. Try to drink enough water everyday. Water is essential and the best choice you can make. It works in removing toxins from the body, so drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and having a negative impact on your immune system.

2. Limit unprocessed food: These are foods that are altered during preparation to make them more convenient, shelf-stable or flavorful. They I have unhealthy levels of added sugar, fat and sodium the ingredients make the food taste better, but too much of these foods leads to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.

Eat fruits, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils, beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, brown rice or starchy tubers or roots such as potato, yam, taro or cassava), and foods from animal sources (e.g. meat, fish, eggs and milk).

For snacks, choose raw vegetables and fresh fruit rather than foods that are high in sugar, fat or salt.

3.  Moderate your oil and fat intake: Consume unsaturated fats. Your body needs healthy fats for energy and other functions. But too much saturated fat can cause cholesterol to build up in your arteries (blood vessels) and increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.

4. Limit the amount of salt and sugar: Limit the amount of salt. Limit your intake of soft drinks or sodas and other drinks that are high in sugar.

5. Physical activity Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. Exercise helps circulation as it increases blood flow, it allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

Is advisable to maintain a correct nutrition status, especially in this period when the immune system might need to fight back.

Ms Selah is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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